Blockchain is increasingly believed to be capable of positively empowering underserved populations in myriad ways, including providing a means for establishing a trusted digital identity. As such, blockchain is seen as avenue for creating positive Social Change: BlockChange.
Yet for all the enthusiasm, we in fact know very little about how blockchain can impact social change through the creation of a trusted identity — what kinds of applications serve what needs, what technological attributes matter most, what risks are involved and under what conditions blockchain can have maximum impact.
To address this gap, the GovLab, with generous funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, developed the Blockhange Field Report sharing early findings from our research initiative on blockchain’s potential for improving people’s lives, with a particular focus on the emergent universe of Blockchange as it relates to identity. This focus is based on the need for trusted identifiers in accessing a number of rights and services, from banking to the ballot box, as well as identity’s role as an enabler of blockchain-enabled smart contracting and track and trace interventions.
The Field Report, which is informed by a number of concise case studies on early identity-focused pilot projects and implementations, comprises five key parts. The first provides a curated primer on key narratives, terms, and guides to blockchain and its potential for creating social change. Part two highlights blockchain’s core and optional attributes, and describes three categories of social change use cases. The third part dives into the area of identity, analyzes the current and potential value of blockchain across the identity lifecycle, and highlights findings from case studies completed by the research team. Part four brings all of the above together by discussing lessons learned related to operational conditions that can help to enable successful Blockchange initiatives, as well as cross-cutting challenges. Finally, part five concludes with a set of principles aimed at providing the field with applicable guidance on how to design Blockchange interventions in the identity space that are legitimate, effective, ethical, and impactful.
Note: The peer review process will close on Monday, August 6th.
CONTACT: If you have any questions about the review process or the case studies, please contact Andrew Young (firstname.lastname@example.org)